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Prof Dynarski @dynarski
, 15 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Annual reminder that the Current Population Survey can't be used to measure gaps in educational attainment between those who grew up rich and poor…
The CPS is awesome for tracking education of the entire population.

Yay for high-quality, cross-sectional, government statistics! 2/N
The CPS is NO GOOD at telling us how adults' educational attainment differs by childhood socioeconomic status. 3/N
CPS is not a longitudinal datset. We don't track ppl from childhood to adulthood in the CPS.

When do we know someone's parents' income in CPS? When they live with their parents! 4/N
The set of adults who live with their parents is, um, not representative of the population as a whole. 5/N
If you live away from your parents but are in college, you are typically considered to be in your parents' hhold for CPS survey purposes.

Consider two CPS hholds whose heads each have a 24-year-old kid

Bob lives away from parents, works --> not in CPS hhold

Sue lives away from parents, in college --> in CPS hhold

Hmmm this may explain why adult kids from richer families are more likely to appear on their parents' CPS records 8/N

If you try to use CPS to track educational attainment by parental income you will get batshit* results

*Whoops I spelled biased wrong 9/N
After our post, the Pell Institute retracted its crazy 2015 estimate that 99% of kids in top income quartile earned a BA

But they're still at it. 10/N
The Pell Institute's annual report contains lots of great info, including stats from longitudinal surveys that provide CORRECT estimates of SES gaps in BA attainment 11/N
But the Pell Institute undermines the credibility of its entire report by leading - on the cover! - with unreliable, biased estimates. 12/N
There are reliable data showing enormous income gaps in BA attainment. It's a disservice to cloud the convo by using the wrong data to generate biased estimates. 13/N
Consider yourself innoculated against biased estimates when you see them. Very soon. 13/13
Vox also did a nice piece on this last year…
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